01-07-2005, 08:41 PM #1
White House paid commentator to promote law
This makes two times they've been caught -- read on . . .
Not much to be said for these ethics . . .
Of course, this is The Candidate and The Party of "Family Values." Crooked as hell, and amenable to using taxpayer $$$ to persuade Americans to support legislation.
Of course such a thing is highly illegal, but there you go . . .
Don't blame me; I voted for the Libertarian guy . . .
White House paid commentator to promote law
Fri Jan 7, 6:56 AM ET Top Stories - USATODAY.com
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
Seeking to build support among black families for its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.
The campaign, part of an effort to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB), required commentator Armstrong Williams "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.
Williams said Thursday he understands that critics could find the arrangement unethical, but "I wanted to do it because it's something I believe in."
The top Democrat on the House Education Committee, Rep. George Miller (news, bio, voting record) of California, called the contract "a very questionable use of taxpayers' money" that is "probably illegal." He said he will ask his Republican counterpart to join him in requesting an investigation.
The contract, detailed in documents obtained by USA TODAY through a Freedom of Information Act request, also shows that the Education Department, through the Ketchum public relations firm, arranged with Williams to use contacts with America's Black Forum, a group of black broadcast journalists, "to encourage the producers to periodically address" NCLB. He persuaded radio and TV personality Steve Harvey to invite Paige onto his show twice. Harvey's manager, Rushion McDonald, confirmed the appearances.
Williams said he does not recall disclosing the contract to audiences on the air but told colleagues about it when urging them to promote NCLB.
"I respect Mr. Williams' statement that this is something he believes in," said Bob Steele, a media ethics expert at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. "But I would suggest that his commitment to that belief is best exercised through his excellent professional work rather than through contractual obligations with outsiders who are, quite clearly, trying to influence content."
The contract may be illegal "because Congress has prohibited propaganda," or any sort of lobbying for programs funded by the government, said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "And it's propaganda."
White House spokesman Trent Duffy said he couldn't comment because the White House is not involved in departments' contracts.
Ketchum referred questions to the Education Department, whose spokesman, John Gibbons, said the contract followed standard government procedures. He said there are no plans to continue with "similar outreach."
Williams' contract was part of a $1 million deal with Ketchum that produced "video news releases" designed to look like news reports. The Bush administration used similar releases last year to promote its Medicare prescription drug plan, prompting a scolding from the Government Accountability Office, which called them an illegal use of taxpayers' dollars.
Williams, 45, a former aide to U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) Justice Clarence Thomas (news - web sites), is one of the top black conservative voices in the nation. He hosts The Right Side on TV and radio, and writes op-ed pieces for newspapers, including USA TODAY, while running a public relations firm, Graham Williams Group.
Last edited by Tock; 01-26-2005 at 03:22 PM.
01-07-2005, 09:03 PM #2
Tock, let's say this is true. I'm sure Democrats and Liberals need a halo adjustment too!
01-07-2005, 10:16 PM #3Originally Posted by 1victor
Of course it's true . . . they're running the story on the news right now, was on the national news earlier tonight, and will probably be in the papers tomorrow (saturday). No need to take my word for this, get a paper tomorrow, check the editorials in the Sunday papers.
As for a "halo adjustment," this business of the government bribing trusted journalists to spread its propaganda is the sort of thing Communists and Dictators do. Ya, this is significant stuff . . . and it makes ya wonder what other journalists are on the government payroll, passing off the government's official line for their own considered opinion.
Corruption can get worse than this, but not by much.
01-26-2005, 03:21 PM #4
MORE CONSERVATIVE JOURNALISTS PROSTITUTE THEMSELVES TO THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
Looks like there could be lots of this stuff going on -- the Bush Administration using Tax $$$ to pay journalists to talk up its policies . . .
Shame on them, and shame on the journalists who prostitute their positions of trust for government money.
Is this the "Liberal Media" doing this? Hah . . .
Bush Orders an End to Hiring Columnists
By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) on Wednesday ordered his Cabinet secretaries not to hire columnists to promote their agendas after disclosure that a second writer was paid to tout an administration initiative.
The president said he expects his agency heads will "make sure that that practice doesn't go forward."
"All our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet," Bush said at a news conference.
Bush's remarks came a day after syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher apologized to readers for not disclosing a $21,500 contract with the Health and Human Services (news - web sites) Department to help create materials promoting the agency's $300 million initiative to encourage marriage.
Bush also said the White House had been unaware that the Education Department paid commentator and columnist Armstrong Williams $240,000 to plug its policies. That contract came to light two weeks ago.
Bush said there "needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press, the administration and the press."
And he noted that "we have new leadership going into the Department of Education."
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings started this week, replacing first-term Education Secretary Rod Paige. Paige had ordered an investigation into whether Williams should have disclosed the deal to produce television and radio ads promoting the No Child Left Behind Act.
Williams has apologized, calling it a mistake in judgment to not disclose that he was being paid by the administration but insisting he broke no laws.
Gallagher apologized to readers in her column Tuesday, saying that she was not paid to promote marriage but "to produce particular research and writing products" — articles, brochures, presentations. "My lifelong experience in marriage research, public education and advocacy is the reason HHS hired me," she wrote.
She said it never occurred to her to tell readers about her work for the government. "I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers."
In 2002, Gallagher contributed to an essay promoting marriage that appeared in Crisis magazine under the byline of Wade Horn, HHS assistant secretary for children and families.
Horn said Wednesday Gallagher was never paid to promote the president's marriage initiative in her own columns.
"We hired her because of her expertise in the area of marriage research in order to draw upon that expertise to help us develop materials related to healthy marriage," he said, adding that Gallagher drafted brochures and helped draft the article published under his name.
"At no time was she paid to go outside of HHS and promote the president's healthy marriage initiative," he said. "The federal government hires experts all of the time. There's nothing insidious about that."
Gallagher got another $20,000 — part of which was approved while President Clinton (news - web sites) was still in office — from a private organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative, using money from a Justice Department (news - web sites) grant. For that 2001 grant, she wrote a report on the institution of marriage, entitled "Can Government Strengthen Marriage?"
On Wednesday a report released by the House Committee on Government Reform looked into the use of taxpayer dollars to fund public relations campaigns.
The Bush administration spent a record $88 million on government-funded public relations contracts in 2004 — a 128 percent increase over 2000, according to the report prepared for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democrats.
Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey urged the investigative arm of Congress, the General Accountability Office, to expand its investigation of the Education Department's contract with Williams to include Health and Human Services and Gallagher.
Gallagher has testified twice before the Judiciary Committee (news - web sites) in support of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage without disclosing her contract with the government, the senators said in a letter to the U.S. Comptroller General David Walker.
"This abuse by HHS is just another in a long list of similar incidents of paid policy advocates supporting Bush Administration policies," the senators wrote.
01-26-2005, 03:29 PM #5
This is no surprise to me. What would be a surprise is if this was the only administration to use such tactics, or at least get caught for using them.
01-26-2005, 03:33 PM #6
So . . . no surprise, no shock, no outrage . . . no criticism for the Bush Administration for resorting to such tactics? Just a musing that "Them there godless commie pinko fag-loving Liberals musta done it too!"
Huh . . .
01-26-2005, 03:33 PM #7
agreed this is old news, the liberal press has been getting paid off year after year.
01-26-2005, 03:37 PM #8Originally Posted by Tock
All the stress and outrage would only serve to increase my stress levels, which I like to keep low -Im a laid back guy-.
I voted for the lib guy too. what can I say, Bush dominated this election and now the american people get what they paid for.
01-26-2005, 03:43 PM #9Originally Posted by 1victor
These were Conservatives who were on the take . . . Right wing Christian Conservatives, by the way . . .
Nice set of professional ethics those folks have . . .
01-26-2005, 03:47 PM #10
Did y'all know that the Democratic party quashed the first civil rights legislation in 1875? Did y'all know that the KKK was an extremeist movement of the Democratic party? And that the Democratic Party did not deny that when accused?
Y'all ever heard of the Grand Dragon of the KKK........ Robert Bird (Democrat)?
Did y'all know that all of the civil rights legislation was drafted and supported ny the Republican party only until Kennedy had no choice but to adopt it because of Martin Luther King Jr and his followers?
Do y'all know the whole story about your party?
01-26-2005, 03:55 PM #11
Tock - What do you call the Dan Rather forged document story? An honest mistake.....lol Let's not forget 4 CBS executives were terminated over memogate.
Also, please don't forget about Hilary's senate campaign mgr is under indictment due to the misresporting of figures on her 2000 senate campaign.
I think it is a little bit silly to say only one side has ethical problems.
01-26-2005, 03:58 PM #12
Let's see the responses from them regarding theor wonderful KKK affiliation and bashing of civil rights legislation
01-26-2005, 04:11 PM #13
That's right hit GOOGLE bitches, click on the library of congress and get some education.
01-26-2005, 06:13 PM #14Originally Posted by Hot-Rox
Ok, let's talk about that stuff in another thread. Right now, stay on THIS topic: the abysmal ethics of the Bush Administration and Right-Wing Religious Conservative Journalists.
01-26-2005, 06:56 PM #15Member
Originally Posted by 1victor
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